Uniquely handcrafted items make thoughtful and lasting gifts
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Bringing exposure to wonderful artisans whose shops have gone unnoticed or under appreciated.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Pillow Fight

My monkey will pounce your panda. These are just two of the charming pillow designs being tossed around at peanutbutterdynamite on etsy. I once crocheted a set of spiral pillows that reminded me of Christmas ribbon candy, but at this amusing shop you will find a captivating collection of crocheted pillow faces. And if you are looking for a fun play rug or bed topper, the perfect pals are waiting on their website to grace any play area. All are expertly crafted from 100% acrylic yarn.

Your dear pet would look smart snoozing on their special spot with a buddy blanket. These wonderful creations emerge from sunny California and are shipped worldwide. More unexpected pieces from this delightful family business can be found on Facebook and at their website. Nothing says 'You're special' like handmade, and what a special toddler or baby shower gift one of these coordinated pillow and rug sets would make. This shop simply exudes cuteness!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

An Enduring Canvas

Here is another accomplished painter working with an unusual canvas - leather! LeatherFlair on eCrater combines the skill of leather work with the talent of a fine art painter. He merges the longevity and rugged beauty of leather with attractive imagery creating works of art sure to last the test of time. This amazing artist prepares each canvas by hand, familiarizing himself with its unique nature and grain pattern. Professional leather dyes are used to skillfully create lasting artistic pieces ready to enhance your living spaces. Works are signed by the artist and completed with a coat of moisture and UV protection.

Each stunning image is surrounded by a leather border to accommodate framing or cropping. If you are looking for the perfect piece of wearable art for the back of your leather jacket, be sure to view the B-52 Bomber or Wile E. Coyote. He also has a line of stunning leather bracelets with unique carved designs. I like the Black Cobra design. This leatherneck patiently works his pieces in Oklahoma and ships to the United States.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Pipe Dreams

A carved dragon found at FashionPipes on etsy is a far cry from the corncob pipes I remember from the Beverly Hillbillies. My dad had a very plain bowl pipe, and I still remember the scent of cherries. You certainly don’t have to smoke to appreciate the artistic beauty in an attractively handcrafted work of art, and there is a thriving community of pipe collectors looking to add a unique piece to their collection. Take a few minutes to peruse their extensive selection of hand carved pipe designs ready to beautifully grace any mantle display. 

You will also discover a variety of cigarette holders and long pipes, just like Sherlock Holmes’ from the movies. These pipes are skillfully crafted from pear wood in the Ukraine and ship worldwide. What a wonderful surprise gift a little carved treasure would make for Father’s Day or dad’s birthday. Who knows, one of these amazing pipes may even spark a pipe collection quest!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Heart Strings

My husband’s journey into building guitars began with a love of music, which grew into a desire to create the perfect instrument. Here at Celentano Woodworks on etsy, Paul has a fleet of stringed instruments available in unbelievable designs. He is a master craftsman and whether you strum, pluck, or just want to hang it on the wall for the incredible art that it is, your dream is found here.

Do you wonder what one of Paul’s guitars, mandolins, or ukuleles will sound like? This remarkable luthier has a YouTube video library showcasing some of his creations. Take a peek into this artist’s lair in the process of listening to his works of art perform.

Paul strings his tuneful treats in North Carolina, ships internationally, and can be found on Facebook. The lizard is a show stopper. If it has strings, this musical magician can bring the design of your imagination to life!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Taming Temari

The traditional art of Japanese thread balls has its modest beginning as an ancient recycling project. Not wanting to waste precious kimono remnants, Japanese women fashioned balls for their children to play with. Over the centuries these toys evolved into prized possessions given to commemorate important events. We enjoy this incredible art form today at suzik on etsy, where you will find an impressive collection of colorfully decorated temari balls.

Susan creates her balls in the time-honored tradition, not relying on Styrofoam forms, making each of her handmade creations a true one-of-a-kind treasure. Some of her balls even have rattles, although these decorative pieces are not intended for children’s play. Whether hanging from a Christmas tree or proudly displayed in a curio cabinet, these beautiful works will captivate onlookers for many years.

Susan wraps her wonders in Louisiana and ships internationally. If you see a design you like, but prefer a different color scheme, please contact her. She is also very familiar with Feng Shui and can coordinate the perfect colors for your living space. This unique art form is still on my list of things to try one day!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Foaming Flowers

With a rich family heritage, this Artfire artisan at Gingers-Garden is continuing the ancient tradition of soap making. Irena grew up mentored by traditional soap makers, and although she no longer has to save rainwater, grease, and lie, she takes great care in selecting the ingredients for her products. I am impressed by her scope of work, colors, shapes, patterns, and scents. Her novelty soaps, flowers and fish, would make lovely stocking stuffers and hostess gifts, and are too pretty to use! In looking at her photos, it appears she has quite a soap dish collection as well.

Irena is a licensed holistic health care practitioner, and also finds time to teach. Besides the marvelous myriad of bar soaps, she offers soothing shower gel, and shaving soap. I found the Sleepy Time aroma inhaler an interesting idea. There are lip balms, body scrubs, and lotions. Take a few minutes and explore this interesting shop.

Irena brews her batches in California, sends to Canada, and can be found on Facebook and at her website. If you would like to try one of her handcrafted soaps, Irena has a reasonably priced sample soap offer, which will get you whatever she is working on. She is able to take special and wholesale orders. How charming would little soap thank you gifts be at a wedding, shower, or birthday party? If you have any questions, please contact her. She loves to talk soap shop!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Frostless Flakes

I live by San Francisco and we have been dusted with snow a few times in the last 60+ years. Those who live where it regularly snows may not consider my experience anything close to snow. I found a husband and wife shop, grahtoestudio, on etsy, with the kind of snowflakes I prefer. As individual and unique as the real thing, these handcrafted wooden flakes will grace a Christmas tree for many years. Ash, hickory, koa, teak, walnut, and zebra are some of the domestic and exotic woods transformed by Stacy’s table saw and router. The ornaments are finished with lacquer to show off the natural color and grain patterns.

This shop also offers a selection of bold and functional hair combs, forks, and sticks from an array of premium woods and antler. These designs are ready to grace your stylish updo, holding long hair with ease. Curly koa is stunning and my husband would love to make a guitar with this wood. Stacy is a true wood whisperer and works magic on a lathe, bringing forth wondrous bowls hidden in blocks of wood. Their new line of hand and pocket mirrors is making its debut.

Stacy and Kim collaborate in Utah, send internationally, and can be found on Facebook. If you are not sure how to use a hair fork, several videos can be found on their blog. Do you fancy a particular wood, pattern, or embellishment? They are happy to take custom orders. This is the perfect way to own a piece of exotic wood!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Kick Up Your Heels

This fine arts artist works on an unusual canvas – shoes! LoveMirandaMarie on etsy embellishes shoes with her beautiful drawings. Here, commonplace shoes have been touched by an artist and magically transformed. You may be hesitant to wear these works of art out of the house. Imelda Marcos surely would have appreciated the matchless beauty of Miranda’s fancy footwear, as any true collector would.

A newcomer to etsy, Miranda hasn’t been able to contain her creativity to shoes, and you will also find a retro-style painted handbag. Visit her blog for an insider’s glimpse at her creative process, and follow as her pieces come to life.
Working with gently used canvases, she is a true upcycler! This fashionable footwear comes from Arkansas, and ships worldwide.

If you have a design idea or would like to commission a themed piece for a special event, Miranda Marie is the one to see. She will turn the ordinary into the extraordinary!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Of Mice and Rabbits

I am struck by the sheer charm and attention to detail found in this very special doll shop, DollsAndBunnies, on etsy. Here you will find an entire colony of unique mice, each dressed to impress. There are bunnies and bears, and other cuddly animals waiting for their forever home.

Ella has been knitting and sewing her delightful dolls for many years. A large family of children and grandchildren has given her plenty of experience. With nimble fingers and loving patience she fashions those little arms, legs, and tails. The effort she puts into each of her pieces is not only demonstrated in their superb construction and detail, but also by their presentation portraits.

If you are looking for an understanding friend, a class of young ladies has just completed finishing school and would make excellent best friends. The Dorothy doll very much reminds me of the Madeline series of books. Ella also crochets a line of cupcake pincushions that would brighten any work area, and you can order one in your favorite colors!

Ella crafts her dolls in Israel, and ships worldwide. Just look at all those precious little faces. What a delightful surprise one of these wee ones will be peeking out from under a tree Christmas morning!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Blowing Glass

Glass blowing has been around since ancient times, and Kelly at KLGlass on ArtFire has embraced this traditional art form with a passion. Her shop has a wonderful selection of amazing glass works, from elegant vases to fanciful kritters. How cute are those bugs on sticks? Many believed the duckbilled platypus to be an elaborate hoax, and she will have you looking twice at her collection of whimsical creatures.

Tired of the same old, boring, mass-produced, everybody has one, tree ornaments? Kelly’s blown glass balls in vibrant original colors will make unique Christmas gifts, sure to be treasured for many years. She also has a line of lovely angels, perfect for a Christmas tree, but for me the showstopper is a friendly little elf ornament.

Kelly rolls her blowpipe in Canada and ships internationally. Drop by her website for more artistic works by this outstanding artisan. If you have an idea for a special piece, she is eager to help bring your glass dream into reality. If you pass by the Stony Creek area of Ontario, a visit to her studio would be a memorable excursion, and she would enjoy sharing her love of this traditional art form with you.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Quilted Wall Art

Years ago, wall hangings were a way of keeping out the drafts, but they have become less utilitarian and evolved into amazing and unique works or art. Armed with a pallet of colorful fabrics in a range of textures, this ArtFire shop, UniquelyJenQuiltCreations, specializes in piecing together intriguing art quilts. Working from an impressive stash in a well-organized studio, this fiber artist designs exceptional scenes to grace your walls. Jen combines textiles with other fibers and beads, bringing to life the scenes from her imagination.

Jen has enjoyed teaching creative quilting for many years. She also makes traditional lap or bed quilts, and for the kitchen, she has beautifully coordinated oven mitts and hot pads. I have never seen anything like her wonderful line of fabric coasters that fit right over the bottom of stemware. Her fabric art postcards make the perfect little artistic displays to brighten up a desk or bookshelf.

This active lady sews up a storm in Idaho, ships internationally, and can be found on Facebook. Don’t hesitate to contact Jen if you have a question of special order in mind. If you are near her in Northern Idaho, attending one of her artistic quilt classes could spark a creative design epiphany of your own.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Sugar Lace

Were you ever told not to eat paper as a child? Well here is paper you can freely eat and enjoy! The sweetsocietybakery shop found on etsy has a wonderful selection of lacey delights to accent your culinary creations. Edible decorating paper comes in many colors, and it can be sweetened or not. These charming designs will add visual appeal and kick up the simplest dishes a notch. Watching them magically dissolve in a liquid is great fun!

The sweet treats come from California and are shipped internationally. Special requests are welcome. Order a thoughtful garnish for a baby shower, wedding, or any special event you wish to make memorable. There are so many possibilities!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Marble Mailling

There are many shops offering chainmaille jewelry, but this outstanding ArtFire shop, Sneath, has taken mailling to a surprising level. Beyond an impressive array of bracelets, some which glow in the dark, you will discover unusual earrings featuring caged marbles. I find the Tao Dragon Tail* weave to be very pleasing. Glen also has an eye-catching line of mailled marble key chains, which can be converted to pendants. Some of his marbles contain trace amounts of uranium and emit a harmless eerie glow under backlights.

Glen was inspired after a Lord of the Rings marathon to have a hand at creating his own chainmail. His interest turned into a hobby, and has since grown into a small business. Popular at craft shows, he now offers his artistic pieces online. Find this young artist modeling his amazing chainmaille neckties on his blog. What a show-stopping gift for dad!

Glen mailles the magic in California, ships internationally, can be found on Facebook, and has an etsy shop. If you have any questions or would like a custom piece, he would be glad to hear from you.

*Tao Dragon Tail is a Tao of the Dragon variation weave by Corvus Chainmaille.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Behind the Mask

If you are still deciding on the perfect mask for a costume party, drop by tinylittleworlds on etsy. Danelle’s imagination soars and the bright colors and designs of her creations will add intrigue to your disguise. The attention and complements will have you using your mask over and over. Lightweight, durable, and gluten free, this paper-mache contains potato flour and cornstarch.

Danelle has several cat masks to choose from among her party favorites. The raven reminds me of a plague doctor, and her Dia de los muertos line is reminiscent of a luchador.

Any one of these artistic works would make a dramatic display for year round enjoyment, the perfect gift for any collector or unique masks.

Danelle gets crafty in Oregon and ships internationally. If you have a mask idea in mind, she would be happy to make one just for you!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Graceful Swan Origami

As many of you know. I strongly believe in reusing, recycling and upcycling, so it was heartwarming to discover RutisRoots on etsy. Ruti symbolically turns ugly ducklings into swans when she uses paper heading for the dustbin to create glorious 3D sculptures. Her graceful birds come in a variety of colors. Select a loyal swan to hold your nightstand treasures or become the eye-catching focal point of your desk.

Ruti has bowls in a variety of sizes available. What a wonderful presentation for hospitality mints, or my favorite, Hershey kisses! The designs she brings out in her bowls are amazing, and I continue to marvel at her creative genius, turning scraps of unwanted paper into remarkable works of useful art.
She also makes colorful magnets, which become perfect event favors, and has a line of note cards. This shop truly embodies upcycling in action!

Ruti folds her sturdy treasures in Israel, ships internationally, and can be found on Facebook. This charming lady was a featured etsy seller, and her interview gives further insight into her resourceful and imaginative spirit. If you are interested in a particular design and color, please contact Ruti. She will be happy to discuss your paper vision.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Flower Fancy

This flower filled shop on Zibbet, lagodesigns, may have the bees fooled with a garden of impressive floral beads fashioned from polymer clay. Diana creates her exquisite tiny beads in an array of colors and flower designs, which come together with dazzling beads to make striking statement pieces of wearable art. Her bold feminine designs are true one-of-a-kind treasures and sure to be the focal point of any outfit.

With hair pins to shoe clips, Diana’s designs will have you shining from head to toe. I like the cheerful gerbera daisies, but you will find orchids, roses, crocus, delicate apple and cherry blossoms, as well as tulips among the garden dwellers. If you are thinking of making your own floral beads, Diana has several tutorials to take you through the process of creating the flowers, then putting them together in your unique statement necklace.

Diana’s flower garden grows in Portugal. She ships internationally, and can be found on etsy. Visit her website for detailed pictures of her wonderful creations – such nice photos! These works of art will be enjoyed for many years.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Scratching an Egg

This artist celebrates her Lithuanian heritage in a traditional art form and creates the most beautiful decorated eggs. Christine’s etsy shop, teener1416, features a wide array of these delicate treasures in wonderful colors and designs. This older form of decorating eggs starts with an egg dyed in a single color. The designs are then etched by carefully scratching through the layers of dyed shell exposing the natural color of the shell. The eggs used, combined with the artist’s hand, guarantees that no two eggs are every identical.

Working with chicken, duck, goose, and turkey eggs, Christine uses her art for stress management after a hard day. You can’t be overstressed for long when working with eggs! Her exclusive eggs can be displayed on a tiny stand or be made into impressive Christmas tree ornaments. You will also find several multicolored eggs in her shop. Her floral designs are amazing.

Christine carves her eggs in Pennsylvania, and ships internationally. Custom orders are always welcome and your egg can be personalized. She has another shop on etsy where her creative spirit has produced a line of richly embellished greeting cards – when you care enough to send uniquely handmade!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Metal Art

Sparks will fly when CabinHollow takes an order at their metal fabrication shop on Zibbet. They specialize in silhouettes, but have racks and hooks of all sorts available. One of my sons has wanted a CNC Plasma Cutter to go with our welder. Just take a look at this well stocked shop and see all the wonderful things you can make with it. Your favorite animal would make an eye-catching house number accent for your home or mailbox. Getting something personalized with a name or number is not a problem.

Most items in his shop are shown in black, but can be ordered in any solid color. I do like that red rooster yard decoration. It reminds me of the Rhode Island Reds we used to keep.

When it comes to metal, the lower the gauge, the thicker the metal, so 12 gauge is thicker than 14 gauge. It works much like the gauge on knitting needles, with the higher numbers being the smaller sizes.

Gerald cuts it out in Kentucky, ships internationally, and is also busy on etsy, CraftIsArt, and ArtFire. If you can imagine it in metal, he will do his best to make it, and special orders are welcome.

There is a beautiful cutting of Proverbs 3:5-6 on their blog.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Artful Gourd

Amazing – Simply amazing! Pyroengraved gourds are found at JRAGourdArt, a museum quality gourd art shop on etsy. I know pyrography or pyroengraving as wood burning. Jennifer has chosen to enhance the simple beauty and natural wonder of ordinary gourds with her intricate freehand designs, many of which feature Celtic symbols. She works with several gourd varieties transforming them into one-of-a-kind works of art. I had never seen canteen gourds before, from which she fashions exquisite hard shell purses.

When I showed this incredible artist to a daughter, she commented on how erasing must be difficult. Jenn’s Tree of Life bowl featuring her backyard friends, a squirrel and a number of birds, in a tree framed with beautiful Celtic weaves is a pyrography must see. She labored on this treasure for months.

The process of growing a gourd and preparing it as a usable canvas takes over a year. When properly dried, gourds can be worked on just like wood. Smaller artworks are available as precious Christmas tree ornaments made from egg gourds. If you shake one of these, you will hear the seeds inside!

Jenn patiently burns her wonders in Pennsylvania and ships internationally if possible. Find more of her unique work on her website. She is glad to take custom orders and will personalize a prized family heirloom just for you. If you live nearby, consider taking one of her gourd classes!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Stained Glass Menagerie

Discover a wonderful world of colors and imagination in this stained glass shop, TYorkStainedGlass, on ArtFire. This artist has a passion for stained glass, and her fanciful creations will astound you. Frogs, owls, penguins, fish, roosters, and dolphins along with a host of other fantastic creatures are sure to please. There are so many whimsical sun catchers to choose from. A charming cat face can be made in the colors of your furry friend.

There are beveled art works that will paint any room with a dazzling light show. If you are looking for a business card holder, there are beautiful styles and colors to choose from.

Visit the photos on their Facebook fan page to see the vast spectrum of this shop’s artistic expression. Larger glass art works are available. The 3D dragonflies are amazing. As you explore this artist, you will continue to be astounded at her artistic vision - birds and butterflies in every imaginable color combination!

The glass magic happens in Rhode Island. They ship internationally and can also be found on etsy. Special orders are encouraged and custom colors are welcome. The colors of stained glass never fade and these treasures will be enjoyed for many, many years to come!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

A Work of Leather

As many of you know, my husband makes electric guitars and amps as a hobby, so I was thrilled to find the astounding guitar straps available at EthosCustomBrands on etsy. With over fifty years of leatherworking experience, the Ethos Team is well equipped to work their leather magic and create a masterpiece for you, whether you are looking for a custom pair of kickin’ boots, eye-catching cuffs, or would like your jeans fashionably inlayed with leather.

I didn’t know that kangaroo hide was tanned, but apparently is it lightweight and very strong, and you will find it here in their fabulous Celtic inlay work. I have my eye on the portfolio cover, which fits a 1-inch ring binder and would be perfect for my husband’s worship music. They also have a line of device covers. Just let them know what you need protected and they will create the perfect leather case.

These wonderful leather works are created in Oklahoma and shipped internationally. They can also be found on Zibbet and Facebook. Custom orders are always welcome, and they will gladly work with you to create the perfect leather piece.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

A Simple Thread

It seems like magic as a single strand is transformed into an elegant work of art, but it takes patience and skill to masterfully turn a simple thread into amazing thread art. Maryann of Crochetbymsa on etsy has been perfecting the art of crochet for nearly 4 decades, and her expertise is evident in the array of pleasing creations found in her shop. The traditional lacy doilies featuring flowers are beautifully represented in her shop offerings. They make wonderful table accents and also bring great design to a room draped on the back of an easy chair or sofa. 
Maryann also offers an attractive line of treasure bags. Be sure to see the 3D daffodil gift bag, which would also be a lovely sachet filled with your favorite scents. The stylish lingerie bag is sure to make a cherished wedding or anniversary gift, and the laced rose tiebacks, reminiscent of a bygone age, are the perfect finish for romantic or Victorian decorating.

Maryann twists these treasures in Pennsylvania and ships internationally. Custom orders are always welcome, and she will gladly work with you to create the perfect design, size, and color scheme.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Fifteen for 2

I haven’t played cribbage in years, and was pleasantly surprised to find barkupatree making splendid cribbage boards on zibbet. All of Sean’s game boards are made of top quality hardwoods. His creations showcase the wood’s natural beauty, and he finishes them with tung oil and wax. I have never heard of the Pegs and Jokers card game, but Sean has wonderful sets available for that game as well.

 This self-taught craftsman specializes in custom, handcrafted wood furniture and accessories. Stop by and see an amazing selection of jewelry boxes and chests, as well as hand mirrors from the loveliest
 selection of exotic woods: zebrawood, bubinga, padouk, and morado to name a few. My husband got a piece of purpleheart months ago and I was surprised by its natural color. Bloodwood is equally impressive.

Sean fashions these treasures in Oregon, ships internationally, can be found on Facebook, and has shops on etsy and ArtFire. You can also visit his website where available wood selections are displayed.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Dust Bunnies

Okay, so the blue bunny won me over straight away, and the guinea pigs remind me of Star Trek tribbles (yes, I have a tribble). I grew up with rabbits and those little squeakers and was delighted to find Zygopsyche, a charming critter shop on etsy, specializing in guinea pig and rabbit plushies – just look at those cute little faces and ears!

What a wonderful desk pet one of these tiny creatures would make, but watch out if you have cats, I think my boys would think one of these little fuzz balls to be their new best friend. There are so many colors to choose from. Your favorite is waiting!

These furry friends come from Oregon. Zygopsyche will ship to international destinations and can be found on Facebook. Special orders are not a problem.